Wellington City Council should read the mood of the nation and start removing statues and street names that glorify colonisers, a local says.
But councillors say there needs to be a clear call from the community before action is taken.
Rangatahi Māori Safari Hynes said New Zealand's capital city needs to follow Hamilton's example and address the myriad memorials and monuments to colonisation spread across the city.
Hamilton City Council contractors yesterday removed the statue of British army captain John Hamilton from the centre of town, after a formal request from the Waikato-Tainui iwi.
The move comes as the Black Lives Matter movement gains traction overseas and statues of slave traders are being toppled in America and the UK.
New Zealanders are now beginning to look closer at the historical figures being memorialised on home soil.
"For a city that is lauded around the country as probably the most progressive and as probably the most diverse city in the country, there is still work to be done," Hynes told NZME.
He said the narrative created by the statues and street names was "out of balance" and disproportionately told Pākehā stories more than Māori stories.
He pointed to the statue of William Wakefield at the Basin Reserve, a Wellington coloniser who was also known for having helped his brother, Edward Wakefield, abduct and marry a 15-year-old heiress.
The brothers spent three years in prison for their crimes. A bust of Edward Wakefield is in place atop Mt Victoria.
"We are actually recognising the narratives of people who didn't really deserve one in the first place," Hynes said.
"Why are we memorialising someone who abducted a 15-year-old girl and helped swindle land out of Māori?"
Hynes did not have a particular preference for which statue should be pulled down first - he couldn't say "which of the devils is more the devil".
He wanted New Zealanders to fully understand the history and meaning behind memorials around the country.
"I think the example shown in Hamilton is that the ability to do it overnight is actually there, they've proven that it's just a matter of people getting up and doing it."
Hynes felt Hamilton had set a precedent for the rest of the country.
"It's time for council to make some decisive action . . if Hamilton can do it, why can't we?"
Councillor Tamatha Paul said there needed to be a public call to take things down before council could take action.
"Ultimately we have to wait for that call, and when that call comes I believe we will be ready to do it," she said.
Proactively going through every statue and street name in the city to determine which ones should be removed would require large amounts of consultation with mana whenua and other ethnic groups and would cost too much at a time where council needed to spend wisely, she said.
"Wanting to topple statues of slave traders, colonisers and people who have done terrible things is more symptomatic or symbolic of, I think, a growing movement of people who are just over the current systems."
Councillor Jill Day said the movement had happened quickly and the council had not had an opportunity yet to properly discuss it, but said it was "really amazing" that people were beginning to look at the history of memorialised figures.
"It is important, too, that the community does speak up and say we're not happy with this."
She said colonisation was "devastating" for Māori, and figures such as Wakefield caused "huge trauma".